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The Best of Friends

Written by: Lucinda Berry
Narrated by: Amy Rubinate,Tara Sands,Coleen Marlo
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Publisher's Summary

An unthinkable tragedy forever changes a group of teens and turns family against family in this edge-of-your-seat thriller that begs to be heard in one sitting.

Best friends Lindsey, Kendra, and Dani endure every parent’s nightmare when a tragic accident befalls their teenage boys, leaving one dead, another in a coma, and a third too traumatized to speak. 

Reeling from the worst night of their lives, the three mothers plunge into a desperate investigation of the bizarre incident. How could something so horrible happen in their wealthy Southern California suburb? 

They soon discover that the accident was just the beginning, and troubling discoveries lead to chilling questions: Do they really know their children? Do they even know each other? As more secrets surface, a fog of doubt and suspicion threatens to poison their families, their friendships, and the whole community. 

With the illusion of happiness and safety long gone, these women must now confront the hazards of heartbreak, the consequences of jealousy, and the dangers of living double lives.

©2020 by Heather Berry. (P)2020 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What listeners say about The Best of Friends

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  • A Customer
  • 2020-09-15

Synopsis is well-written but misleading. Minimal mystery. Women’s fiction w angsty melodrama.


Here’s my first bit of advice: Listen to the Audible version & pass on Kindle.

I was eager to read about three distraught mothers who investigate the tragedy that left one of their sons dead, another brain dead, and the third psychologically damaged. The prologue hooked me, as did the first 25 pages—but at 10% into the book, there are already 16 characters, not counting tertiaries. This is set in an upper-middle class, very White neighborhood in SoCal—with McMansions, privileged children, clueless parents, spoiled athlete sons, private schools, drugs, and alcohol abuse. Yes, cliches galore. Five eye roll emojis for the kids’ names: Sutton, Wyatt, Caleb, Sawyer, Reese, and Luna. Happily, one is named Jacob.

As a whole, the mom characters are unsympathetic, as are their sons, but I did like Luna, a college age teen. Character development is minimal, although very short chapters feature the moms’ POVs. Goodread reviewers pointed out that their voices are too similar, so before frustration set in, I switched to the Audible version. Problem solved! Three narrators—Amy Rubinate, Tara Sands and Coleen Marlo—are skilled voice-actors who give the moms distinctive voices.

This book has many hanging threads. Which mom had the terrible eating disorder? Who had a drinking problem? What was the horrible situation one mom experience whilst in high school? Who else was involved? How were the women affected by these problems? Or did the author just decide to toss in the kitchen sink for padding?

Minus 1/2 star for the ridiculous epilogue, which could have been omitted. Docked another 1/2 star for the unbelievable and seemingly supernatural “miracle”—which grants a sort of HEA to one family. I’m in the minority of reviewers, so if you enjoy women’s fiction or domestic drama, please read this w a shaker of salt.

Trigger warnings: suicide, murder, domestic abuse, alcoholism, drug abuse, subplots that go nowhere.

29 people found this helpful

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  • MA Reviewer
  • 2020-09-08

BEST OF FRIENDS was not the BEST....

Lucinda Berry, did you really write this book?

Lucinda Berry's "When She Returned" earned a 5-star rave review from me. Unfortunately, "The Best of Friends" did not seem like it was written by the same author and was certainly not "the best" effort by this author.

Just like "When She Returned", this book revolved around a horrific event. This, however, is where the similarities of the two books ended. When I listened to "When She Returned"., I remember that I was unable to stop listening to it. While listening to "The Best of Friends", I kept on wanting to abandon the book. Unfortunately, I listened to the book in its entirety, optimistically hoping that it would get better but it never did.

I am unable to comment on the character development of the three best friends showcased in this book --- because character development did not exist. Quite frankly, it was hard to keep who-was-who straight. And the book just dragged on-and-on-and-on. ...with a "surprise ending" that was very predictable. UGH!

Looking at the half-full cup, the narrators did a superb job.

Sooooo disappointing!

12 people found this helpful

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  • Corinne
  • 2020-08-18

I'm only 1/4 of the way in...

And I'm already hooked!!! Let's hope there rest of the book keeps the same pace.... 🤞🏼😍

7 people found this helpful

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  • Lucy
  • 2022-04-14

What A Disappointing MESS!!

I'm sorry, but it is completely beyond me to understand how this got such good ratings. Based on the reviews, I was looking forward to this. I love Liane Moriarty, and Diane Chamberlin rarely lets me down, so I thought, Yippee! Well. NOT.

I wasn't even going to bother with a review, but this book ended up really annoying me on so many fronts. For a start: a horrible tragedy is NOT a plot. Novels have plots. This, on the other hand, felt manipulative and lazy. Set up a ghastly situation, and the reader just has to sort of stick with it and try to be generous. Which I did. I really did. But this was boring. The writing is utterly pedestrian, with a good dose of plodding thrown in. A sort of class in anti-tension. Did this author even try? And these rather spoiled self involved women? All you really need to know, is we are supposed to be engaged by the idea that they were still using High School as a frame of reference. Not even college. Something Bad That Happened at Junior Prom. Seriously. To add insult to injury, we never even find out what it was. Although I doubt anyone would care.

The Three friends thing is an old plot device - but these three friends were A: just under-characterized versions of the same person. B: Self involved and, ultimately, pretty hard to like. With the exception, maybe, of Dani. Although even that didn't survive the epilogue, which was seriously dumb. Every cliche known to readers of 'women's fiction' was stuffed in here, from alcoholism to eating disorders to abuse. It ended up as a sort of chopped salad, with a pretty weird dressing ( quite a lot of slapping and punching an unconscious body? What WAS that?). As for the big mystery of 'What Really Happened?' Let's just say you didn't need to be Enola Holmes. I did keep it on until the end...by which time I was having happy fantasies about a hail of bullets killing them all.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Sheila S
  • 2020-08-23

Melodrama

There were so many characters here that I had to develop a chart to keep everyone straight. Despite my confusion, the storyline was initially engaging. This was a tough tale to resolve, and the ending seemed rushed and unsatisfying. Overall rating: 3.5 stars rounded up

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Christina Moore
  • 2020-10-24

Amazing!! Please please read this book! If you have children it’s so gripping and emotional!

I was obsessed each morning and after work to get on audible and listen to this book!

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Susan
  • 2020-09-29

I should have known-women’s issues!

While I enjoyed the mystery surrounding the kids, I did not enjoy the women’s story (issues) surrounding it. The narration was irritating. I also found the substance abuse issue rather disproportionate. The women seemed not in the least concerned about their kids drinking but the drug used for ADHD sent the mothers and fathers into hysterics. While I don’t approve of abusing prescription drugs, I see adderall help many kids every day (when taken appropriately). I don’t know if this woman had a bad experience with the drug (as anybody can with any drug) but I hope the completely negative light she shed on this medication doesn’t stop moms whose children are truly ADHD and need the medicine to survive in school.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Brenda Kimbrough
  • 2020-08-23

Slow, slow, slow. Boring.

I expected an interesting story due to the summary. I kept waiting for things to pick up and get a bit mysterious. Never happened.
Boring and depressing.
I would return it, but have listened too long
For it to seem legitimate.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • RueRue
  • 2021-02-08

Melodrama

A bit heavy handed on the melodrama and dysfunctional families. There is a nice little twist at the end.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Renee Elizabeth
  • 2020-10-11

fantastic!

incredible story. Wow! I loved this audiobook! My sister recommended this author to me and I am sure glad she did. Narration was spot on.

1 person found this helpful